10 compelling missing persons cases before Gabby Petito

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10 compelling missing persons cases before Gabby Petito

The disappearance last month of Long Island native Gabby Petito garnered headlines coast-to-coast as new twists and turns emerged — but it’s just one of the countless missing persons cases to grip the nation.

Here are some of the most compelling:

Jimmy Hoffa

The tough-as-nails Teamster boss disappeared outside a Michigan diner on July 30, 1975, and is presumed to have been murdered — although his body has never been found.

Hoffa, longtime president of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, was outside the Machus Red Fox Restaurant in Bloomfield Township to meet with a pair of Mafia bigwigs when he disappeared.

Earlier this year, a former mob lawyer said he helped bury Hoffa at a Georgia golf course. Hoffa’s death is also the subject of Martin Scorsese’s hit 2020 film “The Irishman.”

Frank Sheeran — the subject of Martin Scorcese's "The Irishman" — claimed to have killed Hoffa.
Frank Sheeran — the subject of Martin Scorcese’s “The Irishman” — claimed to have killed Hoffa.
SplashNews.com

DB Cooper

The mysterious airline passenger remains one of the FBI’s biggest mysteries.

A nondescript man identifying himself as “Dan Cooper” robbed a Portland-to-Seattle Northwest Airlines flight on Nov. 24, 1971, telling the crew he had a bomb.

Sketches of DB Cooper who robbed an airplane and then parachuted away in 1971.
Sketches of DB Cooper who robbed an airplane and then parachuted away in 1971.
AP Photo/FBI, File
The Northwest Airlines plane that Cooper escaped from.
The Northwest Airlines plane that Cooper escaped from.
AP

Cooper demanded $200,000 in $20 bills, then parachuted out of the plane — and into obscurity, according to the FBI. The agency reopened the case in 2016, but Cooper has never been found nor positively identified.

Etan Patz

The 6-year-old New Yorker disappeared from a Soho street while on his way to his school bus stop on May 25, 1979 — becoming the first “milk box” missing child.

In 2016, a local bodega clerk, 56-year-old Pedro Hernandez, was convicted of kidnapping and murdering the boy and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison the following year. The boy’s body was never found.

Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who was kidnapped in 1979 in Manhattan.
Etan Patz, the 6-year-old boy who was kidnapped in 1979 in Manhattan.
Stanley Patz
Pedro Hernandez was convicted of murdering and kidnapping Patz in 2016.
Pedro Hernandez was convicted of murdering and kidnapping Patz in 2016.
AP Photo/Louis Lanzano, Pool
Etan's parents Stan and Julie Patz.
Etan’s parents Stan and Julie Patz.
AP

Laci Peterson

Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her home in Modesto, California, on Christmas Eve in 2002. Her body was found four months later in San Francisco Bay.

Her husband, Scott Peterson, was convicted in her death in 2005. Prosecutors contend that he dumped his wife’s body into the bay from his fishing boat.

Laci Peterson went missing in 2002 and was later found in the San Francisco Bay.
Laci Peterson went missing in 2002 and was later found in the San Francisco Bay.
AP Photo/The Modesto Bee, Modesto Police Department Handout
Peterson's husband Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering her in 2005.
Peterson’s husband Scott Peterson was convicted of murdering her in 2005.
AP Photo/Justin Sullivan, Pool

Judge Joseph Force Crater

The History Channel called the Big Apple Supreme Court judge “the missingest man in New York.” The 41-year-old jurist disappeared near Times Square on Aug. 6, 1930.

The Pennsylvania-born judge, appointed to the bench by Gov. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had returned from a family trip to Maine when he vanished.

Judge Joseph Force Crater disappeared in 1930.
Judge Joseph Force Crater disappeared in 1930.
AP

His law clerk later told police Crater destroyed documents and withdrew $5,000 before disappearing.

He was never found despite a massive manhunt and was declared dead in 1939.

Kristin Smart

The 19-year-old co-ed went missing after attending an off-campus party near California Polytechnic State University on May 25, 1996, and was never heard from again. She was officially declared dead in 2002, although her body has never been recovered.

Paul Flores, 44, a former student at the school, was arrested earlier this year and charged with murder in the case, along with his father, Ruben Flores, 80, for allegedly helping his son dispose of the body.

College student Kristin Smart went missing near California Polytechnic State University in 1996.
College student Kristin Smart went missing near California Polytechnic State University in 1996.
FBI via AP, File
Paul Flores was charged with murdering Smart in 1996.
Paul Flores was charged with murdering Smart in 1996.
San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Prosecutors said Paul Flores walked Smart home then raped and killed her.

Natalee Holloway

The Mississippi teenager was on a class trip in Aruba when she disappeared on May 30, 2005. Holloway, 18, had received a scholarship to attend the University of Alabama.

In 2017, remains found on the island proved not to be Holloway’s, whose disappearance was the subject of the Oxygen television series. She was declared dead in 2011.

Natalee Holloway went missing during a class trip to Aruba in 2005.
Natalee Holloway went missing during a class trip to Aruba in 2005.
AP Photo/Family photo
Holloway's aunt Marcia Twitty holding up a photo of her niece at a press conference.
Holloway’s aunt Marcia Twitty holding up a photo of her niece at a press conference.
Jerry Ayres / Polaris

In a bizarre twist, John Christoper Ludwick, who claimed he helped to bury Holloway’s body, was stabbed to death in 2018 during a failed kidnapping attempt in Florida.

Lauren Spierer

The 20-year-old Indiana University student from Scarsdale disappeared on June 3, 2011, after a night of partying with friends near the school campus.

Spierer was seen on surveillance video walking alone in Bloomington shortly before she went missing. No suspects were ever identified and she has never been found despite hundreds of leads as to her whereabouts over the years.

Indiana University student Lauren Spierer went missing in Bloomington in 2011.
Indiana University student Lauren Spierer went missing in Bloomington in 2011.
Surveillance footage of Spierer walking alone before she went missing.
Surveillance footage of Spierer walking alone before she went missing.
AP Photo/Bloomington Police Department

The FBI, Bloomington police and a private investigator hired by Spierer’s parents followed up on the leads but continued to hit dead ends.

Sherri Papini

The 34-year-old California “super mom” was out for a broad daylight jog when she vanished — only to reappear three weeks later with an unconfirmed tale that she had been kidnapped by two women and then released.

Although she resurfaced, Panini’s claim remains a compelling mystery — she has remained tight-lipped since about her own disappearance.

Sherri Papini, a California mom who claimed she was kidnapped while jogging.
California mom Sherri Papini claimed she was kidnapped while jogging in 2016
Facebook
A sketch of one of the women who Papini claims  kidnapped her near her home.
A sketch of one of the women who Papini claims kidnapped her near her home.
FBI / Splash News
The other suspect in the Papini kidnapping.
The other suspect in the Papini kidnapping.
FBI via AP

Last year, investigators said they received a tip from a Southern California man who claimed he was with Papini for the 22 days she was missing, saying the abduction was a hoax. Meanwhile, Papini has returned to the quiet life of a California housewife.

Anne Marie Fahey

Fahey went missing in June 1999 after breaking up with her married boyfriend, who was convicted of her murder three years later, Insider said.

Thomas Capano was accused of shooting the 30-year-old Fahey in Delaware and dumping her body in the Atlantic Ocean. Her remains were never found.

Anne Marie Fahey went missing in 1999. Her boyfriend was later convicted of murdering her.
Anne Marie Fahey went missing in 1999. Her boyfriend was later convicted of murdering her.
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Capano was a powerful and influential attorney in Willimington and had even served as an advisor to the state’s governor. But prosecutors said he became jealous when Fahey told him she had a new love interest.

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